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The business activity index of the Absa PMI survey crashed to an all-time low of a mere 5.1 index points in April. The decline means that manufacturing output came to a near standstill during the nationwide lockdown, with almost all respondents reporting a decline in activity compared to the previous month. Indeed, many respondents indicated that zero production took place during the lockdown.

Absa has published its updated sustainability policy and standard for financing coal, affirming the group’s commitment as a responsible financier to address the negative impacts of climate change.

Absa executive directors and prescribed officers will forego 33% of their monthly salaries for the next three months and donate these amounts to both the Solidarity Fund as well as the Group’s COVID-19 community support programmes.

We have noted the Central Bank of Kenya’s press statement this morning in which it announced the suspension of Absa Bank Kenya's foreign exchange dealer license from 9 April 2020 until 15 April 2020.

Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index for March 2020 averaged at 45.9 index points, compared to 47.6 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

We want to assure our customers at Absa that we understand the impact the COVID-19 may have on your financial position, and we want to offer a payment relief during this period.

Absa has donated an initial R15m towards various initiatives aimed at dealing with the impact of COVID-19 in South Africa.

Absa has implemented a number of interventions in all our Absa offices, including branches, to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.

This morning (12 March 2020) Absa became aware of a contractor from Spain, who has been on our premises since Tuesday, 10 March 2020, who reported to our health clinic at Absa Towers West in Johannesburg, complaining of flu-like symptoms. Based on his condition, our medical team immediately assisted him to undergo the necessary testing procedures for COVID-19 in line with national guidelines, and recommended immediate self-quarantine.